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Tampa Tribune to trim 70 jobs

A consolidation will include merging sections.

By STEVE HUETTEL
Published April 11, 2007


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The Tampa Tribune will cut about 70 jobs and make other changes to reduce costs amid advertising and circulation declines that have shaken the newspaper industry.

Most layoffs will be in circulation, customer service and classified advertising telephone sales, said Denise Palmer, president and publisher of the newspaper owned by Media General, based in Richmond, Va.

Fewer than 10 positions will be cut from the Tribune newsroom, she said. Supervisors began informing laid-off workers Tuesday and will continue through Friday. The newspaper has about 1,335 employees.

The Tribune also will consolidate and outsource unspecified operations, combine sections, narrow the newspaper's width by a half-inch and stop circulating in three outlying counties.

"Our newspaper is experiencing the challenges of changing reader needs and fundamental shifts in spending by our traditional advertisers," Palmer said Tuesday. "We are reducing resources in areas that are in decline and investing in areas of growth, including local news and the Internet."

The newspaper will eliminate zoned editions in Hillsborough County and shift content to "much more robust" versions of existing community newspapers, said Palmer. Readers will see highly local Web sites and interactive Web sites over the next several months.

The Friday Baylife section will be combined into the Friday Extra weekend entertainment section. The Tribune also will realign sections of the Sunday newspaper. Palmer declined to discuss details Tuesday.

Within two or three months, the Tribune will stop circulating in Citrus, Manatee and Hardee counties.

For the six months ending last Sept. 30, the Tribune's average circulation fell 3.9 percent to 204,408 daily and 4.6 percent to 278,411 on Sunday.

The St. Petersburg Times, Florida's largest newspaper, eked out a 0.2 percent circulation gain on Sunday to 386,661, while daily circulation fell 3.2 percent to 291,626.

The Times ceased publishing the Citrus Times and closed two bureaus in the county.

Times Publishing is "reallocating staff toward areas of opportunity" in Hillsborough County, the Web site tampabay.com and tbt*, the free daily tabloid, said Andrew Corty, vice president and spokesman.

"It's important to know the Times has no plans to merge any sections of the newspaper or have any layoffs," he said.

Steve Huettel can be reached at (813) 226-3384 or huettel@sptimes.com.

[Last modified April 10, 2007, 23:31:37]


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